Bermuda to welcome remote workers
Bermuda is to grasp the chance to attract remote workers to the island with the launch of a special one-year residential certificate.
The Government has also laid out a welcome mat for non-Bermudian students who, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic closing campuses elsewhere, are doing university and college courses online because they will also be eligible to live on the island and study remotely.
In addition, the maximum stay period for all visitors is to be extended from 90 days to 180 days.
Jason Hayward, the labour minister, announced the moves in the House of Assembly on Friday.
Barbados grabbed international headlines when it said two weeks ago it would welcome remote workers to the country for up to a year.
The country is working on the details for its scheme.
Mr Hayward told MPs that Bermuda's one-year residential certificate is expected to come into effect in the first week of August.
He said: “There are persons who are location-independent, using technology to perform their job no matter where they are.
“Such persons work remotely, telecommuting rather than being physically present at a company's headquarters or office.
“Remote working has been a growing trend for some time and is something the Bermuda Government has been examining as part of its technology-focused economic diversification strategy.”
Benefits for the island were said to include an increase in the population, more economic activity, greater job security for Bermudians, and a boost to “the marketability of Bermuda as a place to reside, visit, or do business”.
Barbados was fast off of the starting blocks to promote the idea of year-long residency permission for remote workers, but it was taken up soon afterwards as a possibility for Bermuda by several figures, including Charles Gosling, the Mayor of Hamilton, and Ben Smith, the Shadow Minister of National Security.
The Royal Gazette was told earlier that Mr Hayward was considering how a similar policy could benefit Bermuda.
Mr Smith said he was pleased by the announcement.
He added: “I recently highlighted the same initiative that Barbados has unveiled and it is good to see the Government listening and taking ideas on board.”
He welcomed the plan to help students “given the issue of visas for students in the US whose courses will be totally online” and said the programmes should be promoted around the world as soon as possible.
The one-year certificates will cost $263. People of good character, over the age of 18 and can supply proof of employment, as well as health insurance, will be eligible.
Mr Hayward said the amendments were designed for “digital nomads and to allow non-Bermudian postsecondary students to complete their higher education from Bermuda starting August 1, 2020”.
He added the Ministry of Labour would collaborate with the Bermuda Tourism Authority and the Bermuda Business Development Agency to promote the opportunity around the world.